PARIS (AP) — The former head of the French Anti-Doping Agency thinks cycling's governing body should no longer be involved with drug-testing at the Tour de France until it has fully answered questions over whether it helped cover up Lance Armstrong's doping infractions.
Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from competing for life following a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that portrayed him as a serial drug cheat. After years of denials, he confessed to doping during an interview with Oprah Winfrey taped Monday.
The UCI has been accused of covering up suspicious samples from Armstrong, accepting financial donations from him and helping him avoid detection in doping tests. "Things are clear, the UCI is no longer credible and the AFLD should replace it in order to assume alone the responsibility for the fight against doping on our soil, "Pierre Bordry, AFLD president from 2005-2010, told French sports daily L'Equipe on Wednesday . "So long as a possible complicity between the directors of world cycling in the Armstrong case has not been ruled out, it seems impossible to me to ask them to be in charge of protecting ethics."
The UCI set up an independent panel in November to investigate the Armstrong case and what role the governing body had in the scandal. The commission will scrutinize McQuaid, who was elected as UCI president weeks after Armstrong first retired in 2005, and his predecessor, Hein Verbruggen, in their relations with Armstrong.
Claims have been made to USADA by former Armstrong teammates that the UCI covered up suspicious samples from Armstrong in exchange for payments totaling $125,000 and that the American rider enjoyed special protection.
Bordry, who was at loggerheads with Armstrong when he came out of retirement to compete on the 2009 and 2010 Tours, was not surprised to hear of Armstrong's doping admission, which is to be aired on Thursday and Friday.
"His confession was unavoidable faced with the amount of evidence gathered by USADA," Bordry said. "I congratulate myself for the ALFD's intransigence and the pertinence of our report following the 2009 Tour de France, in which we denounced the protection this rider (Armstrong) benefited from during this event at the time of the testing.
"No public authority in France was complicit with this swindle, and that is a real satisfaction," he said. "If I was AFLD president today, I would refuse to carry out testing on the Tour under the UCI's control for so long as its responsibility in the Armstrong case has not been clarified."
Following an ongoing dispute between the UCI and Tour de France organizers, Amaury Sport Organisation, testing on the 2008 Tour was the sole responsibility of the ALFD. Four riders — including climbers Riccardo Ricco and Bernhard Kohl — tested positive for CERA, an advanced form of the blood booster EPO.
"Things went very well (on the 2008 Tour), the fight against doping was efficient and our partnership with the French Cycling Federation was very satisfying," Bordry said. "Excellent work was done in terms of targeting (riders) and the testing was genuinely random and our relations with customs officials and the police was very efficient."
The 100th edition of the showcase race will come under huge scrutiny later this year, and Bordry wants the AFLD to play a part in helping ensure its reputation is not damaged further in the wake of the Armstrong affair and doping by other riders, such as Alberto Contador and Floyd Landis, who were stripped of their titles for doping violations.
"I think that in the current context it's legitimate that the AFLD contributes to the defense of this sporting monument," Bordry said.